Agronomist
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How To Become A Successful Agronomist



Agronomy is the science of increasing the quality and quantity of plant crops, through new and improved methods of cultivation and production.


What Do Agronomists Do?

An Agronomist researches, experiments, and develops methods of production to improve cultivation of crops. An Agronomist also studies how crops can be genetically altered to produce sustained and disease-free crops. An Agronomist is also sometimes known as Crop Scientist.


Education

Agronomists require a minimum of a Bachelor's (BA) degree in agriculture science or food science. Other majors include biology, botany, soil and plant conservation.

It is recommended that you obtain a Masters (MA) Degree to springboard your career as a successful Agronomist. You can major in specializations such as crop science, food science, soil conservation, etc.


Employment

Agronomists are usually employed in private industries that produce crops and food, and government organizations such as U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


Average Salary Of An Agronomist

In the USA, the average salary of an Agronomist ranges from a low of $34,700 to a high of $104,800. The average salary is around $58,600.


Tell me about yourself?

FAQ

By asking this question, the interviewer wants to see if you have the passion, skill set and experience required to be an Agronomist.

Best way to answer this question is to briefly talk about yourself, your education, and your experience such that the key attributes - Agronomy knowledge, communication skills, and analytical skills are demonstrated.

Example - 'I have a bachelor's degree in Agricultural Science from XYZ university (shows that you have relevant qualification). I have ten years of experience in Agriculture and Food industry, including last four years as an Agronomist for companies XYZ and ABC (shows that you have relevant experience). I have extensive experience in crop performance evaluation, soil testing, research and analysis, and enhancing crop management practices (Shows that you are passionate about Agronomy). During my years as an Agronomist, I have overseen multiple projects, created business proposals, supervised fieldworks, and participated in research and educational committees (shows your leadership and communication skills).'


In agronomic terms what are different crop types?

FAQ

Agronomy classifies crops into four main categories. Food crops, Feed crops, Fiber crops, Fuel crops.

Food crops - Food crops are fruit and vegetable crops that you usually see in the produce section of a supermarket such as potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, apples, bananas etc. Food crops include grain-based crops as well such as corn, soy and wheat.

Feed crops - Feed crops are crops that are grown for their leaves, stems and other parts which are used to feed livestock. These are crops such as alfalfa and other forage crops.

Fiber crops - Fiber crops are crops that are used for making garments. The primary fiber crop is cotton used for making cotton garments..

Fuel crops - Fuel crops are crops used for generating biofuels and biodiesel. Sugar cane, corn, wheat and barley are examples of crops that are used for generation biofuels. Sunflower, rapeseed, soybean, palm are example of crops used for producing biodiesels.


What are some approaches used by Agronomists for sustainable crop production?

FAQ

Sustainable food production is the production of adequate, nutritious, and affordable food production for the growing population of the world - without adversely impacting the environment.

Some of the approaches used by Agronomists to promote sustainable crop production are -

  • Precision agriculture
  • Use of biological processes
  • Efficient water management systems
  • Integrated pest management plans


What is precision agriculture?

FAQ

Precision agriculture is a modern farming practice that uses technology systems to increase crop and farm efficiency.

Precision agriculture helps farmers to apply the right amount of inputs (nutrients, water, seeds etc.), at the right time, on a wide variety of soil conditions, within the same farm - leading to increase in crop and farm efficiency.

Some of the technology used in precision agriculture include use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Global Information Systems (GIS), GPS guided tractors and harvesters, aerial imagery and data collection using drones, electromagnetic soil sampling, crop and soil color index maps etc.

These technologies help the farmer to sub-divide the farm into smaller manageable areas.


What is precision agriculture?

FAQ

Precision agriculture is a modern farming practice that uses technology systems to increase crop and farm efficiency.

Precision agriculture helps farmers to apply the right amount of inputs (nutrients, water, seeds etc.), at the right time, on a wide variety of soil conditions, within the same farm - leading to increase in crop and farm efficiency.

Some of the technology used in precision agriculture include use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Global Information Systems (GIS), GPS guided tractors and harvesters, aerial imagery and data collection using drones, electromagnetic soil sampling, crop and soil color index maps etc.

These technologies help the farmer to sub-divide the farm into smaller manageable areas.


What are some biological methods that promotes sustainable food production?

FAQ

Following are some biological methods that can be used for sustainable food production.

Cover crops - Plant cover crops in alternate seasons to cash crops. Cover crops protects the soil from wind and water erosion, reduces weeds, recovers nitrogen, and enhances the nutrients and microbial life in the soil.

No-till tillage - No-till is a system of farming with zero or minimum disturbance to the soil. On some farms, depending on the crops grown, no-till farming can be healthier and more productive than tilled farming.


What are the principle of '4Rs' in agricultural nutrient management?

FAQ

The principle of 4Rs in agricultural nutrient management stands for the following.

  • 1. Right rate of nutrient application
  • 2. Right method of nutrient application
  • 3. Right time of nutrient application
  • 4. Right source of nutrient application


What are some approaches used for better water management in farms?

FAQ

Following are some approaches followed for better water management in farms.

Sprinkler systems - Sprinkler systems are being improved and innovated upon every year.

Sub-surface drip systems - Sub-surface drip systems reduce evaporation by placing water near the roots.

Timely delivery of water - Delivering water to the plants when it is most needed.


What are the different kinds of pests classifies in Agronomy?

FAQ

Pests are classifies as follows in Agronomy

  • Weeds
  • Fungi and bacterial pests
  • Insect pests
  • Animal pests

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